Angelus Pacis: The Legation of Cardinal Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, 1326-1334 (Medieval Mediterranean)
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This volume examines a largely overlooked Avignonese legation to Tuscany and the Papal States, and assesses its impact on Avignonese papal policy in Italy.
uncontested master of Tuscany. The capture of Pistoia in May 1325 extended Castruccio’s dominion to the northwestern edge of the Florentine contado and gave him a potential staging ground for an assault on Florence itself. Pisa, too, was in his sights; its acquisition would give him the means to launch a great invasion of Florence from the west. Cardona’s campaign was more than just another episode in the ceaseless contending of the Tuscan communes. Its conclusion might very well determine the
fact. The Colonna, perhaps, were exceptional; they could trace their descent to the Counts of Tusculum, who dominated Rome’s political life in the tenth and eleventh centuries, though the Colonna themselves made little enough of the fact. In Rome, familial distinction was linked much more to the tangible realities—acquisition of property; continued access to municipal oﬃces; prominent representation in the Church—than to the venerable antiquity of the bloodline. Perhaps no family exempliﬁed these
Orsini attachment to the cause of the papacy, if undeniably motivated at least in part by self-interest, had evinced a generally solid reliability across ﬁve generations; the Orsini never pursued 93 Lettres communes de Jean XXII, #23780, #25338, #40523; Pope Benedict XII, Lettres communes, analysées d’àpres les registres dits d’Avignon et du Vatican, ed. J.-M. Vidal, 3 vols. (Paris, 1903–1911), #2264. 94 For papal provision as a means of reclaiming church rights in Sicily see C.R. Backman, “The
simultaneously, in the summer of 1334. From the brink of ruin, Poujet had staged a spectacular recovery, only to ﬁnd his cause now utterly and irretrievably lost. Rome and the Patrimony had exploded into factional warfare, not in spite of Orsini’s initiatives, but as a direct result of them. Nearing ninety, not even the indefatigable Pope John XXII could believe any longer that he would live to see his labors in Italy brought to fruition. On 27 August 1334—ten days after Poujet’s expulsion from
The legate guaranteed that Francesco would be given safe conduct, but Francesco nevertheless insisted that his case be heard in a safer location. When the legate’s auditors refused to change the venue, Francesco appealed the decision to the Holy See. Ugolino and Alamanno went ahead with the case. They convicted Francesco in absentia and deprived him of his Lateran beneﬁces. With his ﬁrst appeal still pending at Avignon, Francesco now launched a second appeal. The pope sent letters to his vicar in